W2 Reflection: Hepatitis B among Albanian Women

 

HepBAlbania

I am an Albanian American woman and I was born in Albania as were my parents. I found this week’s reflection very interesting since I was completely unaware of the high prevalence of Hepatitis B in Albanian women. I have to admit that it was really difficult to find a lot of information and research on Albania because it is such a small country and easily overlooked. I did find, however, that Albanian women had such a high prevalence of Hepatitis B mainly due to not being vaccinated. That really ties in with this week’s lectures because it shows just how important other factors are in your overall health, so just because your genetics may not predispose you for certain diseases, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get other ones. In the country of Greece Albanian immigrant women had the highest percentage, next to greek women, of Hepatitis B and the study concludes that the main reason was low vaccination rates. Overall Albania is a poor country and many people immigrate to other countries for a better life just as my family did. So I was surprised to see that not only is Hepatitis B prevalence so high in Albanian women living in Greece, but also that these women were pregnant. So now they are passing on this infection to their babies.

This week’s material was quite interesting and really explained the association between race, genetics, and health. I learned that race and genetics can really almost predispose or in a way, predict someone’s overall health. In the material this week, one thing that stood out to me is how Type 2 Diabetes prevalence was so high among the Pima Indians. I learned that clearly genetics and environment can all predispose us to certain diseases. Although our genetic material cannot be changed, I believe that taking care of yourself by exercising, eating well, drinking water, and really paying attention to your lifestyle.

 

Elefsiniotis, Ioannis S. “Hepatitis B Markers and Vaccination-induced Protection Rate Among Albanian Pregnant Women in Greece.” WJG World Journal of Gastroenterology: 5498.

One thought on “W2 Reflection: Hepatitis B among Albanian Women

  1. Hi Meri! This was a fascinating read and very informative! I agree with the reasoning that there are a lot more factors that influence your health apart from race. Using your case study, one could include the environment the women are, social and economic factors of the country as well as cultural implications on whether or not one chooses to be vaccinated of not. Just like in my country, vaccination for certain disease are less frequent or less popular because it is deemed as not traditional or culturally acceptable and any complications from this untreated can be passed down genetically and culturally too through these practices.

    Speaking the relationships between race, genetics and health, I strong believe that in a perfect world, race would not determine someone’s health status. Like with much of the material for this, race has been used as a predisposition for health trends because it was used as one before without looking at other factors than can affect them like socio-economic status, availability of resources, etc. Those ties of race and health are strengthened over time. In clinical studies, racial categories could be very useful if there were was a better understanding of other factors that affect them as well. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “there is a danger of a single story” and looking at race alone for research could be one of them.

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